My Fort Lauderdale Commute

It is unpleasant going from Miami to Fort Lauderdale in the morning, but not nearly as much as Fort Lauderdale to Miami.

One reason is because the main bottleneck is Golden Glades Interchange. That is where I-95, 826, 441 and Turnpike all converge and you get congestion. It's not too bad once you get used to it but 95 is just terrible in general and there are accidents almost daily, so if you can take the turnpike you will be much better off. Once you are clear of that you will quickly see things open up until you reach Oakland Park Blvd.

Since my job is more flexible I can shift my time in the office. If you can do the same, shift your time and say, start at 10 and then stay until 6 you may be better off and actually save some time your commute.

There is even the options of the Metro / TriRail and then bike it the rest of the way to work. I have a friend that does this everyday during the summer. Either way, if you will probably ended up with 60 minutes one way if you use either of those options. Now, if your employer is less flexible on timeliness, expect to make that 75 to 90 minutes. This does not account for accidents. In that case call or send them a text.


Beach Talk

If you aren't from here, you probably won't get the context of the next post so I thought I would clarify first. Around here (Florida) people love talking about beaches. And so I figured I would share my experience from this weekend with you today.

I drove up to Boca Raton to hit the inlet beach yesterday. Such a wonderful place. They've got the inlet where boats come in and out all day. There's also some really strong tides going in and out. One side of the inlet is bordered by a long rock outcropping. It's great for fishing and for snorkeling. I was blown away by the diversity of fish you could see just a few feet offshore.

The water was beautiful, the beach was pretty clean (and has bathrooms) and the waves were perfect for bodysurfing.

On top of all this, the seashelling was surprisingly good. I found a few conchs along with murexes and cones which were always prize finds when I was younger. Can't wait to go back and try out the fishing.

But if you don't make it out to Boca you can try John U. Lloyd, there is a jetty and bigger ships going in and out which is so-so but gives you some of the same aesthetic.

And we use the jetty to fish from.

Like most beaches, it depends on when you go. You can find crystal clear water by the Dania Pier where most people walk right out to go diving.

We saw a giant ray and a manatee there last month.

One of the nice things about it is if you want less busy, you can go to any of the side streets north of Sheridan St. at any time and you get a nice relaxed and pleasant atmosphere.

If you want food, drink and people watching, the boardwalk on Hollywood Beach is nice.

They also have nice sandbars.

But the best beach "near" Miami is technically the one that also is the 2nd best rated beach here in the United States.

We really like Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs. We don't get out there much since it is probably about 1.5 hour drive west on 75 depending on the traffic. The sand is so soft, almost like powder, and you will find a lot of shells there. The water is surprisingly clear for how big the waves were.

And they keep everything nice and clean.

It is our favorite "vacation" spot here in the area.


My Dilemma: Jogging vs. Cycling

I think that it could be boiled down to three questions that I am currently trying to answer. And while I like both, doing both, seems senseless. I mean, what do I do, jog one and then day cycle the next?

It is a duplication of equipment that I would need for something that I could achieve with just one. And cycling is more of an upfront cost.

My Question

  1. Which one burns more fat in less time?
    • This is the big one for me. I have less time, and that means it needs to count. The question is, while I can go further faster while biking, will it be less beneficial to me as a whole? I tend to think that it will be less beneficial.
  2. Which one is harder on my body
    • In the past this has always been jogging, but, in recent years, whenever I get on a bike I end up with knee pain.
  3. How much distance and or time do I need to invest in a good workout?
    • This really seems to be a question that nobody has an answer for. And honestly, it shouldn't be too hard to calculate.
    • In the past I have lost more fat and weight tracking my calories than by actually working out.

I have often read that a "good workout" only depends on your fitness level and intensity.

My Answer

I feel that with the goal of burning fat, either exercise will work, granted I approach it the right way. There is a target heart rate zone, that is to say, one that will burn more fat. Taking that as a starting value I think that it is safe to say that I could reach my target heart rate with either cardio exercise.

Since I have let myself get a little bit out of shape. And since jogging seems like it will rip hurt more than the other, for me a fat burning exercise, it would probably be easier to maintain that on a bike.

I know that it may seem silly, but the way that I see it is that if you're putting in the time and effort you may as well get every bit of benefit you can out of your exercise.


The Life

Miami has it all. At least it has everything we want. And I might add more. Sure the job market is saturated right now in our indsutry, but it only matters if you are looking for work. Not if you have it.

But it really does have it all.

For use it can be broken into two categories.


Do you prefer nice scenery with few people or a place where you can people watch? Food/drink preferences or none needed?

In Coral Gables theres a bunch of nice small parks also that we like to frequent.

There's one on SW 40th St. and Kinda by University Drive.

It faces a big canal and I've even seen manatees there. The park is tricky to find because the street is weird, but trust me its there.

For people watching or reflecting not in nature, Books & Books (Coral Gables or Lincoln Road. I haven't been to the others), Starbucks at Mary Brickell Village, FIU if you can nab a rocking cabana table, Panther Coffee in Wynwood.

And take a moment and enjoy South Pointe Park. Bayside park is also pretty nice, well, up until you get bombarded by homeless people asking for money..

Then there is the view of downtown from the Children's Museum at night is wonderful.

FOr more scenic locations the AD Barnes North is like a sub park that is on SW 32 terr and 72 ave that is usually empty, faces a creek and is very quiet overall.

Skip the Beach Bonfire (A word of warning)

A lot of people that aren't from around here think that they can just start a fire. Anywhere. And the beach bonfire seems like a good idea.

But wait.

Most places require expensive permits or fires are just simply not allowed.

And before you decide to risk it, I will say that there are zero un-patrolled beaches where you will get away with having a bonfire. Most of them are high risk and it varries from getting hassled, ticketed, or arrested.

If it's a small fire and you're not an asshole the police officer may just tell you to put it out, but you risk a lot depending on their mood.

A big fire?

You're gonna have a bad time.

There's a spot in Biscayne National Park that allows for fires along the bay, which is what we did when I was in high school. But you still always had to watch out for the cops.


Do you like good sushi? I love it, and thankfully Miami has some great places. My personal favorite is Katana on 71 st in Miami beach is good cheap sushi.

You sit around the sushi bar and sushi comes floating around on boats. You pick up whichever you'd like. Still, be warned, if you don't time it right expect a 30-45 min wait. If you fail to get in you just need to walk around the corner, there you will find an awesome little Thai place with fantastic sushi.


Watch the Sunrise

The sunrise is beautiful here. I usually end up somewhere the vicinity of 8th and 14th. But it really doesn't matter, no matter where you land you will see a spectacular sunrise.

I will say that March in Miami is a joy weather-wise. And as long as you are luky enough to have some clouds, and there almost always clouds, you will get a truly breath taking sunrise.

Depending on the morning, it could get cold/breezy since even though it isn't too cold. It can still be cold if you know what I mean. As a counter to that you will also some mosquito repellant just in case the bugs decide to come out for a bite. They usually get hungry around dawn.

As for sunsets, they can be a whole lot tricker and are more dependent on where you are. One place, The Flamingo on the beach has some really nice sunsets. While a sunrise is almost a sure thing sunsets are really iffy. By the way, if you happen to be feel like a good samaritan, pick up some trash, people can get careless with their trash on the beach sometimes. While there are often organized community trash sweepings initiaives they aren't enough and it always helps if we make an extra effort when we can.

Enjoy Miami!


For A Spin

Oh, you may tell me that I am old fashioned, but I like to keep my exercise routines simple. That is why I am intrigued when a college of mine started talking about Spin today over lunch. It isn't so much an exercise as a concept. And while I was familiar with HIIT, Spin was new to me.

Basically, when you Spin you select a single activity which you will alternate between periods of maximum exertion through to periods of low exertion. In other words you are spinning up and down, exerting yourself for short spells.

I think that it is easier to see what I mean if I use an example.

One I've been doing lately is that I will cycle in sprints. What that means is that I will tend to ride the bike at a leisurely pace, say for increments of 60 seconds, then I will ramp it up to max for 30 seconds. I try and measure this by maintaining RPM's. It doesn't matter if you have a track or a stationary bike in my experience. You can walk/jog the curves and sprint the straightaways.

This will be repeated for 10 to 15 minutes.

Sprint is a relative term because after a few sprints you'll look like a flailing llama rather than an athlete.

All of this really doesn't layout a program. There isn't a HIIT/Spin program to follow. It is more a conceptual idea more than anything else. There studies showing that high intensity training provides similar cardiovascular benefits as more endurance programs with much less time commitment.

But, for things like actually loosing the fat you need to maximize calorie burn, for which longer routines are probably better.

I have been enjoying myself, which makes things, well enjoyable. And I have seen some improvements. But, anecdotal evidence isin't evidence and I don't want to get hopes up.

My best tool has just been to eat less. Though it is simple, it has been one of the hardest things about the whole experience.

simple != easy

A Day at the Desk

Jobs can be strange. Well, they can have moments that are strange, but usually they are just jobs. But anyway I got this job about ten years ago.

In the first week on the job I was blown away at the technical ineptitude of the whole team. It really felt like they had no clue what they were doing. Even though their stats on paper looked good. Our job required a lot of code review. Out team had one of the worst ratings in the company. And I am not saying that I turned everything around. I did my job, the rest stayed the same. And performance improved slightly. When that happened I moved on to a better team. And the cycle continued. How they were able to maintain their jobs blows my mind to this day.

One example is this one coworker I had on the team. He would literally print out his code any time that he wanted me to look at it. He would seriously come to me with twenty pages of printout from the different parts of his program he felt were causing the problem.

It was strange, but it could have been worse.

When it first happened I teased him in good humor. I hoped that he would stop, unfortunately he didn't, not until I refused to help him if he didn't start using SVN for what it was made for.

It didn't stop there. If I would email him a solution he would print out the email and then type it back into his code manually from the printout. As you can imagine the man had an insane number of typos in his code that I had to make him fix after he "copied" it from my example.

Work can be enlightening.

I speak from experience.


Miami. Really?

When I am at conferences and what not people are always interested in life in Miami. "What's it like?"

I can only imagine that they think we're held over from the 80s Miami Vice, dance salsa in the streets, and "the" destination location for college kids with an alcohol problem.

So let me start off by saying that in Miami we have two seasons, summer and tourist season. Both are fine if you don't mind hot weather. Hot being the part to remember. I like to joke and say that we have humid summer and less humid summer. But lately I have been having a hard time figuring out where less humid summer starts. It used to be that it was winter when it got a tad less-summerish. The kind of weather you got to enjoy that cool breeze. In most parts of the US that cool breeze would be the equivalent of mid-summer. And the cool only lasts for a few days.

I know a lot of people will complain about the climate here. I find it to be much more comfortable than the Hazy/Hot/Humid summertime in other parts of the country. And while it is hot, it's honestly not as hot as elsewhere because of our climate. And the mild winters here are glorious.

I don't think you can go swimming in Michigan in Dec/Jan?

I love my city. You have the beach, the night scene, great food, and just about everything that's great about paradise.

With all of that said, I feel it's a great city to visit.

Maybe even spend a certain amount of years living there. But for many unless you are born there, you live the life and know the scene it can be overwhelming.

So to summarize if you don't mind sweating outside for 11 to 12 months and dealing with 3 months of rain a year you're ready to live the Miami life!


Funny Story

I have had a lot of jobs. And when I was a teen one of my first was interning at a company that did video productions for TV.

Anyway, they had a big client that needed a commercial made since they were relocating to another facility across town. They wanted to show old footage, their family moments, etc. on their progress to their current state. It was a little sentimental and lots of video sources were required.

Well my company had used something like iMove to import all of the footage to the computer, but then
switched over to Final Cut Pro for actually editing the project.

Alright so far so good. They could reference all the files that had imported in the other program in Final Cut. The project was maybe half done when I was assigned to the task of finishing it.

I sat down and got to work on it for a bit, but realized that Final Cut wasn't working for me so I switched over to iMove. This is actually where the problem started because I saw the reason things were running so slow. The iMove trash can was pretty full, so I emptied it to free up some space. When I realized why they were using Final Cut I switch back over to the program which is when I get a bunch of "missing footage" errors.


I actually deleted the whole project that they had spent the last week working on.

I ended up spending the rest of the day importing the footage from the original tapes. If you have ever been exposed to this, you will know that this needs to be done in real time.

Regardless, handing that project over to me on my first day and have me accidentally deleting everything didn't make a great impression. After that was fixed, it turned out to be a pretty great summer internship that I quite enjoyed!


Florida the Boaters Paradise

I'm sure Florida wins out hands down on being the boaters paradise. I'm wondering why you don't see more about boating in Hawaii. Expense was my main thought, but then if you can afford Hawaii you can probably afford a boat in some for or another, but that was just a guess.

We were in Hawaii recently, and I saw that the surf was partially brutal, great for surfers, but not for going out in with a small boat. That said, Florida has the best boating weather (most of the year) that I could possibly want.

Now, if I could just get out there and do more of it.